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Horse Feathers Sign to Kill Rock Stars

Photo by Jason Quigley

Wanna get signed to perennially great Pacific Northwest powerhouse Kill Rock Stars? Pack that fiddle and move up there. It worked for recent Portland emigrant Justin Ringle, whose twangy Horse Feathers just got signed to the label for their future releases.

The forthcoming sophomore set from Ringle, songwriting partner Peter Broderick, and collaborator Heather Broderick-- which follows up Horse Feathers' 2006 debut Words Are Dead-- is expected from KRS in October of next year. In the meantime, the group has a pair of shows close to home where they'll be joined by the Portland Cello Project. [MORE...]
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Lookout, the Next Silver Jews LP Has a Title
It's a long 'un, too!

Shocker time: despite promises made that the forthcoming Silver Jews LP would bear a "two word title" (as was the case with nearly every one that preceded it), our Mr. Berman's doublin' up on it. Yes, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea-- due sometime this coming April from the Drag City lot-- breaks with formula a bit, but hey, that's just all the more Berman to debate and decode.

No word yet on a sequenced tracklist for the album, or (more importantly) whether previously alphabetized tunes "Chimerical Gangland" or "Party Barge" made the cut.

We've also heard some rumblings about a DVD release of the Silver Jews documentary we first mentioned this past spring, but it, too, seems a bit up in the air at this point. No tour's been planned as yet, though we're hoping the band's stint on the road in the wake of Tanglewood Numbers agreed with them as much as it did us.
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DMC, De La Soul, Raekwon Play Jam Master Jay Benefit
Plus: Snoop Dogg, Mobb Deep, Dead Prez, Q-Tip, Marley Marl, Papoose

Photo by Glen E. Friedman

The first-ever J.A.M. Awards and concert, a benefit for slain Run-DMC "big beat blaster" and all around cool dude Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, will be held November 29 at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom.

Performances from Jay's friends and well-wishers DMC, Snoop Dogg, Marley Marl, Mobb Deep, De La Soul, Dead Prez, Papoose, Raekwon, Q-Tip, Everlast featuring DJ Muggs, Kid Capri, and more will serve as the evening's entertainment, while awards will be handed out to folks "for their outstanding efforts in promoting social Justice, Arts & Music" (hence, J.A.M.).

The Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music-- set up by his widow Terri Corley-Mizell and friends to support music and arts education in rural and urban schools-- will receive the evening's charitable donations.
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Circulatory System, Daedelus, Liz Janes Play Athens Fest
As do Diane Cluck, Chris Schlarb, Dark Meat, Grampall Jookabox

Perhaps they're calling it Next to Last Fest because they know something we don't. Perhaps that's just how the Boggle letter-dice fell when they realized they needed a name, pronto. Or perhaps it's due to the "ludicrously low" ticket prices, which may assure this sort of thing only happens once more.

Whatever the reason, Athens, Georgia's Next to Last Fest ought to be the next to last thing you think of skipping the weekend of December 8-9, when Circulatory System, Daedelus, Liz Janes, Chris Schlarb, Dark Meat, Diane Cluck, those Grampall Jookabox characters, and many others join together in song and sodality. This penultimate party goes down in, well, the woods. Hope you like nature.

There'll be art, a farmer's market, and fire acrobatics, too, if music ain't your bag. Proceeds from the festival's tickets (which truly are quite reasonably priced) will go to the Athens and New Orleans chapters of Common Ground, dedicated to providing "short term relief for victims of hurricane disasters in the gulf coast region, and long term support in rebuilding the communities affected in the New Orleans area."
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Bruce Springsteen and Band Add Even More 2008 Dates

So ten-night stretches in every city isn't the plan for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's previously reported (and now expanded) tour schedule after all.

According to Billboard.com, Bruce and the big ol' band will forego the residency thing that often characterizes their tours, opting instead to cover the width and breadth of North America over two solid months of gigs. Bad news for Metropolis Mike with the jones for deep B-sides; good news for Sacramento Sandy with the hubby who owes her a night out.

UPDATE: According to a second Billboard.com report today, E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici will take a leave of absence from the band to undergo treatment for melanoma. Charles Giordano will handle live keys duties for the time being. [MORE...]
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Justice, Peaches, 2 Live Crew, A-Trak Do NYE in L.A.

Big surprise here: in Los Angeles, on New Year's Eve, Steve Aoki's gonna be playing records at a party.

But, hey, so are Justice (doing a DJ set), Peaches (performing, and counting down to midnight), that Spank Rock cover band 2 Live Crew, A-Trak, Busy P, Whitey, Softlightes, and a full roster of the usual suspects as well.

And you, too, can be there for Hard New Year's Eve, provided you're 21 years of age and can make your way to the city's Premiere Events Center on the evening of December 31. Auld acquaintance will be wiped clean over the minifest's generous eight hour run time, and all those DayGlo hoodies ought to keep you upright well into 2008.
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Bat for Lashes Drop iTunes EP With Plaid Remix

Much like the flying rodents after which she's named, Natasha Khan and her Bat for Lashes have snuck up on us all unexpected-like.

The lovely "What's a Girl to Do?" from her similarly lovely Fur and Gold LP made its way to iTunes today as part of an exclusive EP featuring the original song, a remix thereof from Plaid, and a live take on "The Wizard" from a recent gig in New York City. The much-lauded, previously Forkcasted "Girl" video comes bundled with the thing, too, should you or your media device be tiring of that Feist vid. Perish the thought.

As for Khan, she's taking a rare break from the road at the moment. Whatever for, you ask? Why, "working on writing the next album," of course. [MORE...]
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Michael Showalter Talks Sandwiches, State Reunion
"I think within the next two years, you will be hearing about a State movie. In the vein of a Monty Python film, which is to say a sketch comedy film. Like The Meaning of Life or something."

To promote the release of his very first comedy album, Sandwiches & Cats, Michael Showalter recently took to a handful of blogs and started writing. One of his juicier posts appeared on My Old Kentucky Blog, where he revealed that his mid-90s sketch comedy group the State, they of the beloved MTV show of the same name, "is reuniting (though in truth we never broke up) to make a sketch comedy movie. All I can say about it is that we're back together after a brief ten-year break, and it's going to be about the history of our country. Hopefully, funny."

Pitchfork's (and a whole bunch of other people's) interest piqued, I called Showalter to talk to him about the reunion and all of the other things he has on his plate at the moment. In addition to the obvious stuff (the reunion, his album, his tour with fellow State member and frequent collaborator Michael Ian Black), we talked about hecklers, the Writers Guild of America strike, and his relationship with Sandwiches producer and former Shudder to Think frontman Craig Wedren. And yeah, sue me, I talked to yet another person about baseball.

Pitchfork: Are you and Michael [Ian Black] performing on stage together at all on this tour?

Michael Showalter: No, no. Not really. We're traveling together, but we're not performing together.

Pitchfork:
Have you influenced each other's sets indirectly in any way? Any sabotage, intentional or unintentional?

MS: I think so. No sabotage, but I think we feed off of each other in certain ways.

Pitchfork:
What sorts of ways?

MS: Mostly we eat food off of each other's stomachs and stuff like that.

Pitchfork:
Do you clean it up before you go on stage, or do you just leave it on your stomachs?

MS: We try to, but sometimes there's no time.

Pitchfork: So you gotta work on the fly?

MS: Yeah. And I go up first, so I'm usually a little messier.

Pitchfork: You go up first?

MS: Yeah. I open.

Pitchfork:
How was that decided?

MS: Well, Mike is sort of the headliner because he's more famous than me. He just has a lot more exposure than I do. He's a more recognizable face than I am. So like, when I'm traveling with Michael, I would say that for every ten people [who recognize] Michael, eight of them also [know] who I [am].

Pitchfork: So it's like he is 25% more popular than you, is what you're saying?

MS: He is probably a little bit more like-- and popular is also not the right word. He's just more famous. He's probably 30% more famous than me. [MORE...]
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Tim Hecker Preps New Vinyl EP

Soundscape architect Tim Hecker will follow the success of his most recent full-length, Harmony in Ultraviolet, and the reissue of his Radio Amor LP earlier this year with a vinyl-only EP called Atlas. The EP comes out via Audraglint on November 27 in a limited run of 500 copies on white vinyl.

Included on Atlas are two 10+ minute tracks, "Atlas One" (recently featured in Forkcast) and "Atlas Two". The physical release will be the only place you can get these tracks, since they will not be available digitally.

Hecker has a couple shows left this year, starting December 6 in Lausanne, Switzerland. He's also working on a full-length follow-up to Harmony in Ultraviolet for a forthcoming release on Kranky. [MORE...]
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The Mountain Goats Reveal New Album

Photo by Kyle Gustafson

Let's let John Darnielle explain just why Heretic Pride, the forthcoming billionth LP from his Mountain Goats, will see the light February 19 from 4AD, and not a moment sooner:

"We are really excited about this album, and we wish it were out right now, but there is a law against releasing albums in December unless you are Queen. Any album you see released in December is actually by Queen, no matter what it says on the cover. Then in January everybody is recovering from having listened to too much Queen. Hence, February. See you then!"

Heretic Pride arrives with the mark of guest appearances by St. Vincent's Annie Clark, Superchunk's Jon Wurster, Peter Hughes (naturally), old pal Franklin Bruno, Erik Friedlander, and the Bright Mountain Choir. The disc was produced by John Vanderslice and Scott Solter at Prairie Sun Studio, and features artwork from longtime 4AD fave Vaughan Oliver.

While you wait, you've got a few shots at hearing the new stuff live at a handful of Mountain Goats dates over the next few weeks. They've also got that post-Queen-hangover set at this spring's Noise Pop festival, which we reported earlier today. [MORE...]
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Wu-Tang Clan Plot Winter Diagrams Tour
Ghostface lands cameo in Iron Man film

Photo by William Kirk

Face it, the Wu is back; following close on the heels of the December 11 release of their while-in-the-making 8 Diagrams LP, the RZA, the GZA, Inspectah Deck, etc. will take to the stages of this fair country on a full-bore Wu-Tang Clan tour.

They have eleven shows lined up right now, but more dates can be expected to follow-- and given the notoriously inexact way these guys do things, you'll want to re-check the venue website before you head out to any of these shows. Still, barring incident, all your guys (and, dollars to donuts, Cappadonna and some jokers from the Brooklyn Zoo) will reform like Voltron live onstage over the next couple months. And when that happens, it's always something to behold.

In other news from the Wu, Ghost's Big Doe Rehab seems to be shaping up quite nicely. Nicer than my throne of money, anyway. And speaking of Ghost, the rapper will soon blow meta minds with a cameo in the forthcoming filmic adaptation of the Iron Man comic book series, according to an MTV.com report. [MORE...]
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Dresden Dolls Tour, Amanda Palmer Goes Solo on LP
Palmer solo disc produced by Ben Folds

In late December, Beantown twosome the Dresden Dolls will embark on their first tour since this past summer's cavalcade of True Colors, making their way around well-traveled portions of North America.

Quoth Doll Amanda Palmer via press release: "We're planning on a simple, stripped-down, go-out-on-stage-destroy kind of show. Of course, I always say that and we wind up with a ton of people on stage, doing weird things. How does that always happen?" Dunno, but you can do weird things beginning December 27 in D.C.

Seems Palmer's got quite a bit to say of late. Amanda's solo debut, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, is due early next year. Produced by piano man Ben Folds, the album has apparently transformed from a simple solo joint to, as Amanda puts it, a "full-production monster."

The in-process disc will feature tracks "Don't Take Flowers", "Night Reconnaissance", "Awful Detail", "The Mouse & the Model", and "Blake Says", though it sounds like pretty much everything else about it is up in the air at this point. Pester Amanda for progress reports if you please at one of her forthcoming solo shows, kicking off this weekend and listed after the jump.

Oh, and the Dolls have a characteristically off-kilter merchandizing thing going on, too. It's called Post War Trade, and it's a call for designers and doodlers alike to submit logos and the like to potentially be printed on official Dresden Dolls merch. Besides fame, glory, and so forth, a hefty portion of proceeds from sales of the selected stuff will go to the original artists. [MORE...]
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Do you have a news tip for us? Anything crazy happen at a show you attended recently? Do you have inside info on the bands we cover? Is one of your favorite artists (that's not somebody you know personally) releasing a new record you'd like to see covered? You will remain completely anonymous, unless we are given your express permission to reveal your identity. (Please note that publicists, managers, booking agents, and other artist representatives are generally exempt from this rule, but will also be granted anonymity if requested.)

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